The View from the Bar 

It had to happen. After years of bemoaning other clubs for not managing to produce a programme for our visit (“the printer’s away”, “the dog ate them”, “they exploded” and other such excuses), on Tuesday evening our copier decided to run out of toner unannounced, and we were left without programmes for the game against Blackfield. First time I can ever recall that happening up here in nearly forty years, so we haven’t done bad, but apologies if you missed our usual ramblings. I understand Pete’s planning to do a short run of reprints if anyone else is collecting them, so get your bids in today if you want one.

I didn’t make it to Brockenhurst last week, but despite the defeat (and the fact they missed two penalties), it sounds like we were rather unlucky not to come back with at least a draw. Of course, we have the opportunity for a measure of revenge this coming Tuesday when the Badgers visit Westwood in the League Cup. Hopefully see you all here again for that.

I thought we played very well against a strong Blackfield side in midweek. Hard to argue that they didn’t deserve their win, but it took a moment of magic to separate the teams, and it was heartening that we looked the fitter and stronger of the sides in the closing stages.

  Speaking of cup draws, it’s been an amazing season so far for home draws, with two in the F.A. Cup, one in the Vase (with another to follow if we can beat Devizes), and also the League Cup. Hopefully we can get through a few rounds here and there and this will continue – aside from the usual advantage, with no replays this season there’s the need to get things resolved on the day. Makes me a bit nervous about the p-word though, although our record from spot-kicks is not as bad as some people may think – we’re about 50/50 over the past twenty years or so. We’re 0/100 when the opposition are down to seven players though (remember that Bemerton match?)

  You’ve hopefully seen recently that Cowes Ladies have come under the club umbrella and are now Cowes Sports Ladies. This is a great move for the club and they have brought with them a good slice of infectious enthusiasm, both on and off the pitch. Their league season hasn’t started yet but will hopefully be underway in October, with home matches played here at Westwood on Sundays, so I look forward to seeing you all up here giving them your support. More news on fixtures as we get it.

  Great to see such good support up here for the games so far, and many thanks to everyone for help and support in complying with the various Covid compliance requirements. This is a tricky time to be running a club, but also a great opportunity to get the crowds in while attendance to professional sport is limited. While the phrase ‘make hay while the sun shines’ might not be apt given the circumstances, please do your best to encourage a friend or two up here on matchday, and let’s see if we can give those ‘Ground Full’ signs I made recently a run-out. Would be great to see them up (even though that’s with a massively reduced capacity).

  And on that point, now more than ever the club could use volunteers – especially on matchdays – to help out around the place. The number of new jobs that have come up to be able to get games on means the dedicated few are spread more thinly than ever. If you think you could help out for an hour or three (either on matchday or through the week) please speak to a committee member. Every bit of help really does make a difference, and without people volunteering their time there’d be no club here to support.

  These are strange times indeed. It’s great to get football back and what feels like a little bit of normality, but no-one really knows where it’s going to go from here (or indeed whether we’ll get to finish the season we’ve just started), so let’s enjoy it while we can. Win, lose or  draw, enjoy the game and stay safe.

               Toby.

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